What is Patellar Tendonitis?
Patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is an injury to the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shin bones. This is the same tendon that allows you to straighten your knees. This condition is characterised by inflammation of the patellar tendon, which results in pain and tenderness at the front of the knees. Swelling may be present in the area, and the pain may be especially severe when kneeling, bending or straightening your knee. Jumping, running and walking will also be affected. If left untreated, tears may occur in your tendon.
Patellar tendonitis can be classified into four stages:
- During stage one, you may still be able to go about your daily activities without any functional impairments, with pain only occurring after activity.
- During stage two, pain may be experienced both during and after the activity, although it is possible for an individual to perform as per normal.
- During stage three, pain is experienced during the activity and persists long after. Athletic performance will be progressively impaired and can only be achieved by “powering through the pain”.
- In stage four, the patellar tendon will have deteriorated to such an extent that surgical repair may be the only way to recover from the injury.
What Causes Knee Pain from Patellar Tendonitis?
Patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury of the knee joint commonly experienced by people who frequently engage in activities that result in high impact to the knee area, such as frequent squatting or jumping on hard surfaces. Athletes involved in sports such as basketball and volleyball are especially susceptible to this condition due to the strain these sports place on the knees. If the individual continues to power through with strenuous activity despite the pain, microscopic fractures on the lower edge of the kneecap can occur. The soreness will likely develop into a chronic condition.
Other causes of patellar tendonitis include structural abnormalities in the lower limbs, such as having flat feet or weak gluteal muscles. Patellar tendonitis is a common comorbidity with other orthopaedic conditions
Who Usually Needs Patellar Tendonitis Treatment?
Patellar tendonitis is a common condition that can impact individuals of all ages, although it is more prevalent in those who are involved in sports or activities that put stress on the knees. Athletes who participate in jumping sports, such as basketball, volleyball, or gymnastics, are particularly susceptible to patellar tendonitis. People who have flat feet, high arches, or other structural abnormalities of the feet or legs may also be more prone to developing this condition.
Factors that can make patellar tendonitis worse include overuse, a sudden increase in activity, poor training techniques, improper footwear, and insufficient warm-up and stretching exercises. Additionally, ageing can cause the tendon to become less elastic, making it more prone to injury. Those who experience pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee joint should seek medical attention from a qualified orthopaedic surgeon, who can diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment based on the severity of the injury.
How is Patellar Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Patellar tendonitis, or jumper’s knee, can be mistaken for other injuries including quadriceps injury, knee bursitis, meniscal injuries as well as other pathologies of the knee. Your orthopaedic specialist will usually diagnose this condition based on your symptoms and a physical examination. An X-ray, ultrasound or other medical imaging technology may be needed to clarify the severity of your condition.
Your attending physician will analyse your symptoms around the kneecap area to account for tenderness, pain, swelling, bruising or discomfort with activities like stretching, straightening or bending your knee.
To objectively diagnose a jumper's knee would be to conduct an ultrasound. This is a non-invasive method that provides a dynamic image of the knee structures to help your physician better understand the severity of your condition.
Precautions to Take Before Patellar Tendonitis Treatment
Before starting treatment for patellar tendonitis, it is crucial to seek advice from a certified medical professional to obtain a proper diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of any existing medical conditions or medications they are taking. It is also important to rest the affected area and avoid any activities that may exacerbate the condition. Using cold or warm compresses on the affected area may also help to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Finally, patients should follow their healthcare provider's instructions carefully, including completing any recommended physical therapy or rehabilitation programmes.
What Happens During Patellar Tendonitis Treatment
It is important to detect patellar tendonitis early as this condition has potential to deteriorate into a chronic disability. When in doubt it is always better to place less than more stress on the area of injury. Physiotherapy treatments may be prescribed to increase the flexibility of muscles surrounding the knee like the quadriceps and hamstring. Some physicians will also prescribe anti-inflammatory injections or analgesic medication to reduce the pain. Other treatment options for patellar tendonitis include dry needling, hypothermia thermotherapy and extracorporeal shockwave treatment.
Most cases of patellar tendonitis will resolve with non-operative treatment. Surgery is often recommended as a last resort for severe tendon tears once more conservative and non-invasive treatment options have been exhausted. If advised, an arthroscopic debridement surgery may be carried out. This surgery involves inserting a small camera and surgical instruments into the knee joint to help the surgeon remove damaged tissue. If your patellar tendon needs to be realigned, your doctor may opt for an arthroscopic resection of the inferior aspect of the patella.
Things to Note After Patellar Tendonitis Treatment
As with all conditions, the time taken for full recovery will depend on the individual’s condition. Most people with mild to moderate patellar tendonitis will experience improvement in their condition within the first few months with diligent rest and strengthening exercises. It is recommended to continue with physical therapy even after your initial injury has healed to help reduce the risk of recurrent injury or your condition turning chronic.
Why Choose OrthofootMD for Patellar Tendonitis Treatment
- With a thorough understanding of sport-related injuries and their treatments, our surgeon is able to provide the proper care and advice.
- Our clinic is conveniently located at Mount Elizabeth and Mount Alvernia Hospitals, making it accessible for patients.
- We offer assistance with medical claims, including Medisave and Integrated Shield Plans, to ensure a hassle-free experience for our patients, depending on the type of treatment.
About Our Surgeon
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is an orthopaedic surgeon at Island Orthopaedic, Singapore, who specialises in lower limb orthopaedic conditions, trauma, and fracture surgeries of both the upper and lower limbs. He received his medical education from the University of Bristol and completed his surgical training in the UK and Canada. Before establishing his private practice, he served as Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. Dr Gowreeson is committed to enhancing postgraduate education goals worldwide and is currently the Chair of the Education Academy of SICOT. He has authored over 50 scientific articles and serves as international faculty on various orthopaedic courses.
Get Your Patellar Tendonitis Inflammation Treated in Singapore Today
Possible treatments for patellar tendonitis include knee strapping to reduce pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory injections or medicines, physiotherapy to manage the pain and inflammation or orthotics to support structural problems like flat feet. Ultimately, it is best to stop all activity that may be causing your patellar tendon to degenerate until the injury is healed. Our orthopaedic specialists in Singapore will be able to help diagnose your condition and suggest a suitable treatment plan to manage your knee pain. Book an appointment with a specialist orthopaedic centre today to get on the road to recovery.
Get in touch with OrthofootMD in Singapore to discuss the best treatment option for your condition.
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran
MBChB (Bristol), MRCS.Ed, Dip. Sports Med.Ed, FRCS.Ed ( Trauma & Ortho. ), FAMS (Singapore)
- Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery
- English, Malay, Tamil
- Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bristol, England
- Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
- Diplomate Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
- Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore
- SICOT PIONEER Founders Award 2020
- 2015 European Foot & Ankle Society ‘Best Podium Presentation’ Award
- 2013 Singapore Orthopaedic Association Junior Travelling Fellowship
- 2012 NHG Critical Talent Special Recognition Award
- 1998 Enid Lindt Prize in Clinical Surgery
- 1995 Public Services Department Full Medical scholarship
Frequently Asked Questions About Patellar Tendonitis
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is currently an orthopaedic surgeon with Island Orthopaedic, a one-stop care centre for orthopaedic health under Healthway Medical Group. He specialises in treating lower limb orthopaedic conditions, as well as trauma and fracture surgery of both the upper and lower limbs. Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr Gowreeson was Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Today, he continues to serve the Orthopaedic Department at TTSH as a visiting consultant.